As part of our ongoing Female Founders series, The Startup Magazine asked Terri Foudray, CEO and co-founder of IoT solutions provider, RUMBLE, for her views on the continued digitization of our physical world. Her premise is that technology has been a great disruptor – and no area more so than the launch of the Internet of Things. However, digitizing objects to create “smart products” for our daily work and home lives has created some last-mile challenges that have threatened to derail the promise of IoT.
Ms. Foudray is a dynamic thought leader in the IoT space, founding her IoT company to integrate Edge computer solutions to help solve the IoT performance shortfall. She is a strong STEM advocate and an active member of the advisory board for CompTIA’s Advisory Council.
Below she offers us her views on the need for effective management and harnessing of the reams of data produced by smart objects in the emerging smart world.
The promise of the Internet of Things, or “IoT” was one of connection. Specifically, the IoT was projected to connect more than 50 billion objects generating about 80 zettabytes of data. The reality, however, is far different. While connection has happened, we are still far from that mind-boggling 80 zettabyte projection. Does that mean the IoT is not real or useful?
Not at all.
The Smart Promise
I have great passion for the IoT and its promise of smart everything but there are several hurdles that we still need to address to bring about the full promise. Specifically, we need to look more closely at the effective management and harnessing of the IoT promise: the reams of data produced by smart objects and enabling technologies that will provide the foundation for continued adoption of IoT.
IoT is all about the data and the insights it can provide. In the beginning, people thought having more data was better as more machines and objects were made “smart” through connectivity. The outcome of these smart connections was the generation of billions of bits of data; much of which is never utilized at all. When it comes to data, we need to consider format, amount, timing, and analysis.
Not all Data is Created Equal
First, not all data is created equal. Data that flows from smart devices, machines and sensors that are different ages or produced by different vendors doesn’t arrive all in the same format. Some of it is structured and some unstructured. Data preparation can account for up to 80% of the time and resources involved in a data analysis project. You will need to create a process so the systems can understand and utilize data from disparate sources. In reality, only a closed system, such as one provided by a single vendor, will allow for data to be structured the same way. These systems are often referred to as “silo” systems or walled gardens, due to their closed and proprietary nature.
The Power of Open Data
Closed silo systems aren’t ideal, however. The value of the IoT is the power of not just its data, but its ability to interact with other systems. A closed or siloed system is not ideal as it removes the power of interactivity with other systems. In my view, it is more powerful, indeed practical, affordable, and future-proof, to have an open system. The benefits are powerful: you can mix and match or scale with the hardware that works best for your enterprise. Fortunately for our future and the adoption of data-smart IoT, we are seeing the growth of standards around data protocols and tools furthering this goal of better data consumption and sharing.
Don’t Collect What You Don’t Need
Second, don’t waste time and muddy analytical resources with data you don’t need. The IoT generates a huge amount of data, much of which is simply not needed. A smarter approach is to design data collection around actual need. In a nutshell, if you aren’t going to use the data, don’t collect it. Slimming down the data collection effort can save time, minimize project preparation and actually drive better data analysis and decision-making.
Even though we talk about “big data” frequently in the technology world, the grim reality is that too much data can hinder good decision making. Data for its own sake is rarely useful. The data you collect must be actionable and related to your project and information goals.
Be data-selective and reap the benefits of faster preparation, more focused data-output and better analysis and decision-making.
Timing is Everything
The third factor to consider is data timing. How quickly can you extract value from IoT -generated data use it to drive effective decisions? In the early days, data was collected up and sent to the cloud for processing, which took up time and resources (and still does today).
If you have a sea of data to swim through, it is very difficult to winnow out the intelligence you effectively need for your analysis and decision-making needs.
Fortunately, even in this early stage, the IoT is maturing. More decisions are being made quickly with smaller amounts of data “at the edge”. While I’m not going to dive into complex explanations here, edge computing means that critical data and computational power is kept close at hand to speed up processes and outcomes. For example, if you are in manufacturing, Edge computing keeps data more efficiently accessible to the decision makers on the factory floor, driving better process and maintenance decisions. This approach to creating easier “on-hand” access to data and computing processes is being seen as the key to unlocking the power of IoT and its smart device promise.
The IoT holds so much potential to improve our work, our cities, our world. The key to harnessing the power of IoT resides in taking hold of the torrent of data it delivers and turning it into actionable knowledge, both by strategically gathering needed data and in creating the ability to analyze and use its insight in timely, swift fashion.
Founder and CEO, RUMBLE
Having honed her technical expertise over 25 years in the world of business and high tech, from strategy and development to solution consulting, marketing and entrepreneurship, to partner relationships, Terri knows an opportunity when she sees it. She formed RUMBLE because the future is all about real-time data and its power to increase efficiencies and drive revenue. IoT architecture and implementation are complex and require a level of expertise few companies can offer. She and her team of seasoned experts help their clients utilize critical data insights to grow their business and stay ahead of the competition. Terri is a member CompTIA’s IoT Advisory Council, which addresses industry trends and issues affecting the rapidly evolving IoT market.
Terri Foudray, CEO and co-founder RUMBLE